Come and escape to the beautiful town of Stonehaven in Scotland. Stonehaven is known for its pretty coastline and extravagant Hogmanay celebrations. Tourists that visit here are charmed by its sandy beaches and long-lived traditions, as well as the many other things to do in Stonehaven.
The town is remarkably close to Aberdeen, making it a great place to come and visit when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, don’t only expect a peaceful and relaxing town because Stonehaven is infamous for its unique festivals and celebrations where you can soak up Scottish history and culture.
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Things to do in Stonehaven.
Stonehaven is a beautiful holiday destination in Scotland, and tourists from all over the world travel here to enjoy the significant number of activities it offers guests.
The town is well-known for its festivals and a town centre filled with things to do, from voyaging along the Aberdeenshire coast to exploring the surrounding countryside and seeing the many shops and activities.
Once you’re done exploring the city, come and see its fascinating history at places like the Tolbooth Museum and Dunnottar Castle, and experience the stunning natural walking tours near the Fowlsheugh Reserve.
It can be challenging to decide what you should make time for here. See our guide for the top things to do in Stonehaven.
Is Dunnottar Castle Scotland’s most photographed? It’s undoubtedly up there with Eilean Donan Castle.
The Dunnottar Castle ruins in Aberdeenshire are a four-star Scottish Tourist Board attraction and probably the best thing to do in Stonehaven. Once you visit here, you will never forget its dramatic and beautiful presence in this part of Stonehaven.
You will find this breathtaking spot perched on a high cliff on the edge of the North Sea; Dunnottar Castle is visited by thousands of tourists every year as many want to see the place where William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II have all graced.
Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum
This exciting building located on Stonehaven’s quayside has a remarkable history. Now a museum, this building was once a courthouse and jail! Visitors to this popular tourist attraction love hearing about some of the stories from its past life.
Explore the eerie atmosphere of this delightful attraction, focusing on the evolution of crime and punishment. You can sit in the goal cells and gain an unparalleled insight into the imprisonment of rebels like the Jacobites would’ve undergone here.
Guides are more than happy to inform you of the fascinating history of the Tolbooth Museum, making this one attraction you can’t miss.
RSPB Fowlsheugh reserve
Not far from Stonehaven, you will find the RSPB Fowlsheugh Reserve. The reserve is out of a David Attenborough documentary, with spectacular cliffs filled with 130,000 breeding seabirds during spring and summer.
Amidst the chirps and calls of the seabirds, there are no better views of the waters near Aberdeenshire. You may be lucky enough to spot grey seals and dolphins, which are hands down one of the top things to see in Stonehaven.
Enjoy Stonehaven’s Festivals
Stonehaven is well-known for its lively traditional festivals, and there’s always something to look forward to no matter what time of year you visit this gorgeous town.
From traditional Hogmanay festivals to more modern celebrations, Stonehaven certainly knows a thing or two about having fun! Here are some of our favourites:
Tourists will travel worldwide to join in on Stonehaven’s famous New Year’s Eve celebrations. On 31 December every year, locals will host an ancient fireball ceremony, where brave men and women will swing blazing Stonehaven fireballs above their heads to ward off evil spirits for another year.
Scottish food and drink are also involved, leaving many with a sore head on the first day of the year. The town is packed during this time, and you may find it difficult to secure accommodation in Stonehaven if you do not book in advance.
Stonehaven Folk Festival
The Stonehaven Folk Festival has been running for more than thirty years! One summer weekend, this quiet harbour town in Royal Deeside is brought to life by some of the country’s best Celtic and folk musicians.
Throughout the event, you can participate in its evening concerts in the Town Hall and informal workshops and concerts throughout the day.
This weekend, the town also hosts the World Paper & Comb Championships and a unique Aqua Ceilidh in Stonehaven’s art deco open-air swimming pool.
Stonehaven holds two harbour festivals during the warms months of June, July, and August!
The harbour is the lifeblood of Stonehaven, so it only makes sense that there should be at least two festivals dedicated to it! Join the locals down by the beach and revel in the traditional parade complete with bagpipes, country dancing and an excellent selection of the best outdoor activities you can make a day out of!
The harbour festival is a celebration of everything Stonehaven, making this one attraction you can’t miss out on.
Stonehaven Sea Safari
All aboard the famous Stonehaven Sea Safari! This is an excellent option if you are looking for family activities in Stonehaven. Outdoors experts will take you on a tour of Stonehaven’s outstanding coastline, where you will experience the thrill of a Sea Safari boat.
During this trip, tour guides will try and get you as close as possible to rare Scottish wild and sea life. You may even spot the local dolphins and colourful puffins on your travels, or the oldest known land animal (a millipede of all things!).
Stonehaven Beach is a stunning beach that hosts excellent watersport activities!
This long beach is a superb spot to take the family for a day out underneath the sun, with calm waters and balmy weather. There is a collection of unique metallic sculptures and statues that depict lighthouses and ships at certain points along the shore too!
Grab food from the chip shop, slather on the sunscreen, and enjoy your day trips to this beautiful spot in Stonehaven.
One of the best destinations in Southern Aberdeenshire is Stonehaven Harbour.
Not only is it the perfect place to sit down and have a filling lunch and refreshing drink, but it’s also a great place to get involved and set out from the many attractions that Stonehaven offers. It’s also an excellent place for accommodation, with places like the Marine Hotel offering luxury lodgings to start your day in.
Come and drink a traditional Scottish drink overlooking the sparkling bay just South of Aberdeen. We’re confident you won’t want to leave this gem of a town anytime soon!
Stonehaven War Memorial
This beautiful monument was erected in 1922 and commemorated soldiers lost during the First World War!
The War Memorial has a very distinct design; its octagonal shape, tall stone columns, and stones piled at its base give it a look of intentional ruin.
This unique design was made by John Ellis and made the Stonehaven War Memorial an incredible attraction to come and see.
Stonehaven Open Air Pool
When the summer sun shines down on Stonehaven, there’s only one place to be – the Stonehaven Open Air Pool.
This Olympic-sized swimming pool is one of the best activities you can partake in a while coming to this fishing village. Best of all, the swimming pool is heated, chlorine-free, and yours for the entire day for one ticket price!
The Open Air Pool is remarkably close to many of the town’s recreational facilities and restaurants, so you’re always a few steps away from sweet treats and the town square.
The beautiful Dunnottar Woods can be found just a few miles south of Stonehaven and are a popular place for families to enjoy when the sun is on your side!
The forest is vibrant and filled with wildflowers and trees. It’s a stunning place with exploration and things to see aplenty. There are various spectacular attractions like minor decorations, birdfeeders, intricate rivers, and wildlife.
The Dunnottar Woods are filled with detailed local history, so make sure to stop by when visiting Dunnottar Castle.
There aren’t many places in Scotland that are as beautiful as Catterline Bay!
As you head down south from Stonehaven, stop by this stunning Bay. Catterline Bay has everything you’d ever want from a bay – cliffs, abundant sea life, crashing waves, and white sands.
Treat yourself to the splendid fresh bay fish available at Creel Inn and you certainly won’t regret coming!
Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail
Aberdeen City is undoubtedly a stunning place, but nothing compares to the natural beauty you can find along the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail.
This coastal trail describes 165 miles of continuous coastal views, with dramatic cliffsides, hidden coves, long beaches, and many charming towns along the way – including Stonehaven!
This Trail is perfect for travellers who want to see more of the east coast of Scotland and makes for an excellent holiday attraction over multiple days.
Try Aunt Betty’s Homemade Ice Cream
No trip to Stonehaven is complete without a visit to Aunt Betty’s!
This quaint little ice cream shop is home to a wide variety of excellent flavours, with the raspberry ripple being a particular favourite of many!
The shop is situated along the Stonehaven promenade overlooking the shore, so you’ll be treated to beautiful views while you try this old-town ice creamery.
Explore the Town Centre
The lovely town of Stonehaven has many hidden gems tucked within its centre that are just waiting for you to explore!
Walk down the town’s high street, and you’ll find an excellent selection of restaurants and parks in the market square. It’s not uncommon to see youth having fun here, with Mackie Academy and the three primary schools in Stonehaven!
Whether for a lovely breakfast meal or just to see the old town of Stonehaven, the town square is well worth exploring.
Stonehaven Golf Club
With incredible views over the North Sea, the Stonehaven Golf Club is one of the best places to practise your game while you’re a few miles south of Aberdeen.
The golf club is renowned for its hilly golf courses, which makes it quite a challenge for players to overcome. Nevertheless, once you get the hang of it, there’s no better place to lower your handicap while on holiday!
Afterwards, you can enjoy a lovely lunch at the golf club with stunning views of Scotland’s east coast.
When the weather is lovely, spending some time in the beautiful and verdant Baird Park is one of the best places to enjoy.
The Park is protected by the Fields of Trust, making it an important location to conserve. The Park has a built-in marquee, a few football pitches, and a pavilion!
Families and kids will love having a picnic overlooking the stunning city of Stonehaven.
Stonehaven Clock Tower
Built in 1790, the iconic Stonehaven clock Tower can be found a hop, skip, and a jump away from the harbour.
Although you can’t climb the Clock Towner, it’s a great place to stop by and appreciate by taking pictures while in town. Make sure to come to see this unique monument when visiting Stonehaven before time runs out!
Try the Seafood Bothy
One of the best ways to fuel up in Stonehaven is to try the fresh seafood cuisine at Seafood Bothy.
The Seafood Bothy is famed for its bountiful large portions at great prices, with some of the freshest seafood you can have in Aberdeenshire. It’s a great place to chat with locals and catch up on the town’s news and attractions!
More Things to do in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire & Moray
- Things to do in Aberdeen
- Things to do in Aberlour
- Things to do in Ballater
- Things to do in Banchory
- Things to do in Braemar
- Things to do in Dufftown
- Things to do in Elgin
- Things to do in Inverurie
- Things to do in Royal Deeside